All posts filed under: Iceland

Hraunfosser Waterfall, Iceland

The unusual Hraunfosser Falls just outside of Reykholt, Iceland, flow into the Hvítá river, a series of rivulets that flow across 900 metres of a lava field (hraun means “lava”).   Attempting to get the whole width of the waterfall was a task only a wide-angle fish eye lens could succeed at. Just a little further down the Hvítá river is another waterfall, Barnafoss, which means the waterfall of the kids.  The name comes from a legend wherein two children were playing on the bridge that crossed over the falls, and then fell to their deaths.  In light of our guide telling us this story, I held a little tighter to the rails of that bridge as I crossed.

Icelandic Horses

I have always been in awe of the beauty of horses.  So upon my first visit to Iceland, I was obviously very keen on riding Icelandic horses, one of the purest equine breeds, across Icelandic lava fields. Icelandic horses are incredibly playful and cute, but they’re also sturdy and strong.  Their unique gait, the tolt, is a mix between a trot and a canter, and allows them to smoothly navigate the rough stones of Iceland’s lava fields.  Dressed head to toe in my warmest clothing, I rode with one American girl and our Danish guide.  We were given one break midway through to explore a lava cave.  Though I took an intermediate tour as an experienced rider, interacting with these sweet creatures is an experience I recommend to all going to Iceland.

Mythical Lava Fields in Iceland

Somewhere amidst the chunks of moss-covered lava rock is, supposedly, the homes of the huldufolk, or mythical elves.  Travellers are advised to never kick lava rocks in case it’s an elf stone and you get cursed. Elves only make themselves visible to the people who they want to see them, and I can’t say I’ve ever seen any elves, but there is a certain quality of mythology present in the formation of these landscapes themselves.  On land and from above, the landscape is otherworldly, like it came from a fairy tale or an alien planet.  And this place even casts a spell on the visitor, since my thoughts have been filled with nothing but Iceland ever since I returned.

Eruption at Holuhraun

My life has felt like a volcano about to burst these past few weeks, which is why I’ve abstained from blogging or posting pictures.  I return now after the ash has settled – the eruption at the Holuhraun lava field has ended, and so have at least some of my stressors. Before I got into the swing of Iceland Airwaves, I decided to book a sightseeing flight from Reykjavik that would fly over the south coast all the way to Vatnajökull National Park, which is Europe’s largest glacier and also the home of the Holuhraun lava fields, where the eruption of 2014 was occurring. By the time I visited in November, the lava wasn’t shooting up as high into the sky as some pictures had led me to believe it would, but the hardened lava stretched to an area of 70 square kilometres, making it Iceland’s largest lava flow since 1783.  Having never seen an active volcano in my life, I jumped at the chance to fly above it in a tiny plane with just …

Strokkur Erupts in Iceland

Every ten minutes or so, this geyser erupts up to 30 feet in the air.  The very term “geyser” comes from the Icelandic word “Geysir”, which is the name of the inactive geothermal explosion near the site of Strokkur. First you watch a film bubbling over the earth, almost like a rippling contact lens lost in a teary eye.  Bubbles start to form as the earth starts to boil, until, finally, it reaches its limit and shoots into the air.  The water splatters the crowd who have encircled it, some who have stood too close get drenched, but with nothing but a little rope reminding visitors not to stand on the geyser, who would know where is safe to stand? Watching Strokkur erupt is part of Iceland’s most famous tour, The Golden Circle, and it is also one of the first natural sites in Iceland that is starting to charge admission.  In all fairness, watching Strokkur erupt again and again really is a show. A performance of nature boiling over, perhaps to remind us it …

Jökulsárlón Lagoon, Iceland

After about the fourth time I saw a double rainbow in Iceland, it became less and less notable to repeat “Double rainbow, what does it mean?” to my new French and German friends on our tour of the south coast .  But the rainbow never loses its magic or power, and neither do the miles and miles of cracking ice, resting on a frigid lagoon nestled between glaciers, mountains, and ocean waves. The rain at Jökulsárlón let up for maybe a moment.  I was soaked through my MEC pants and my teeth chattered.  I nervously watched a British teenager jump onto one of the icebergs for the sake of a photo opportunity.  Gingerly, I touched the tip of my toe to a nearby chunk of ice while Janine snapped a photo.  In warm weather, you can see seals here, but alas, not in April. In the dead of winter and the heat of summer, this remains the backdrop photo on my iPad.  And even as Alberta tries to welcome the spring equinox (with snow, no less) …

Mount Esja, Reykjavik

I took this photo while I was sprinting between venues at Iceland Airwaves in 2014, from KEX Hostel to Slippbarinn,  and an inebriated sprint at that.  Following the coastal boardwalk takes you on a direct line from KEX to the Marina Hotel, and even though my mind was focused on getting to the venue in time to see Low Roar, I’m so thankful to have kept my gaze wandering to the ocean as often as was safely possible.  For the view of Mount Esja from the shores of Reykjavik is one view I could never tire of. My heart is longing for Iceland again.  Maybe because I’m in the midst of planning a trip to somewhere other than Iceland, maybe it’s because I’ve been dutifully checking for any lineup announcements for Airwaves to see if a bucket-list artist will be performing and will force me to book the trip.  Either way, I haven’t forgotten you.

Djúpalónssandur and Dritvik, Snæfellsnes

It seems like the middle of no where – we passed maybe one car the entire drive there.  Iceland is a place with so much nothing, so much quiet, but to sit and absorb that quiet, the wind in your hair and the tides crashing against long, black beaches formed from the eruptions of eons passed.  Above it all, a grassy cliff, high enough to be able to observe the ruggedness of the  cliff faces, the scattered remains of a long-ago shipwreck, and the foaming of the sea along the rocks. Shortly after this photo was taken, my spare camera lens fell out of my pocket as I sat, and tumbled down the steep grassy hill.  Helplessly, I watched the lens fall, the lens cap popping off as it bounced.  But to be put in the way of something so beautiful, something had to be taken back.  That the lens still works after this is still not as amazing as this view. Note: I used to have a gallery page.  But it sort of felt odd, leaving …